Monday, April 1, 2013

Massive H-1B Guest Worker Fraud

U.S. labor unions now have to "compromise" with big business to screw American workers so that Congress can claim progress in immigration "reform".

Last year Howard Foster says in an excellent piece for the Huffington Post: "President Obama was once asked by the wife of an unemployed engineer why the U.S. allows H-1B visas (for engineers and other high-tech workers) when so many are unemployed. The president seemed remarkably ill-informed in responding. He said, without citing any statistics, that businesses tell him they cannot find enough engineers."

But this kind of anecdotal evidence is usually misleading. We don't know what kind of businesses the president was referring to. He should have known that there are many unemployed engineers. In fact, the Census puts the number at 1.8 million.

So why do we have any legal immigration when so many Americans are looking for work? One of the purposes of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the current immigration law, is to preserve job opportunities for American citizens.

On the other hand, employers can petition the government for permission to import foreign workers with specialized knowledge, in many cases engineers to work in technology companies. The INA requires employers certify that they could not find an American citizen to fill the job at the "prevailing" wage level (8 U.S.C. 1182 (n)(1)).

However, the law requires the Department of Labor to issue the certification within seven days unless it is incomplete or "obviously inaccurate." So the process is skewed heavily in favor of granting the requests.

The H-1B Program is Fraught with Fraud and Abuse

A federal government study concluded that 20% of the H-1B applications are fraudulent in some respect. An entire cottage industry of firms that obtain H-1B workers and then "loan" them to another employer has cropped up. One such firm has been convicted of repeated violations of the program, was fined and excluded for a year.

In the video below immigration attorneys from Cohen & Grigsby explain how they assist employers in running classified ads with the goal of NOT finding any qualified applicants; and the steps they go through to disqualify even the most qualified Americans in order to secure green cards for H-1B workers.

See in the video what corporations and Congress really mean by a "shortage of skilled U.S. workers". Microsoft, Oracle, Hewlett-Packard and thousands of other companies are running fake ads in Sunday newspapers across the country each week.

Lou Dobbs (when he was at CNN, and who I often disagree with) also did an excellent segment on the H-1B scam (see the second video below) "A law firm is teaching corporations how to get around hiring American workers for jobs so they can import foreign workers under the H1-B visa program. Lawrence M. Lebowitz, the marketing director of the Pittsburgh law firm of Cohen & Grigsby, told executives at its Immigration Law Update Seminar how to advertise to make it look like there are no qualified U.S. workers. "Our goal clearly is not to find a qualified and interested U.S. worker," he said. Cohen & Grigsby's latest H-1B documentation for 2013 (in pdf format) can be downloaded here.

Unfortunately, neither the Republicans nor the Democrats have not pressed the issue of H-1B visa fraud. They have either naively bought into the myth of a shortage for "skilled labor", or they are being disingenuous with the American people

The Knife in the Back The Compromise

Now as of today in 2013, the nation's top business and labor groups (the A.F.L.-C.I.O and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) are nearing an agreement on a guest worker program for low-skilled immigrants, and would clear one of the last hurdles for an overall deal on immigration "reform" legislation in the Senate.

Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) said, "One of the last sticking points in the business-labor negotiations has been the specific type of jobs that would be excluded from the program."

The temporary guest worker program would grant up to 200,000 new visas every year for low-skilled workers. Low-skilled immigrants, often employed at restaurants and hotels or on construction projects, could be brought in when employers claim they faced labor shortages.

The nation’s construction unions have persuaded the negotiators to exclude certain higher-skilled jobs, including crane operators and electricians, from the guest worker program. 

"The labor movement has been united in making sure aspiring Americans [immigrants] get a road map to citizenship and that any future flow program doesn’t reduce wages for any local workers,” said Tom Snyder, manager of the A.F.L.-C.I.O.

The two sides (the A.F.L.-C.I.O and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) agreed that guest workers would be paid the "prevailing industry wage" and said that employers who faced a labor shortage (even after the national guest worker quota was filled) could request a “safety valve” exemption to bring in workers at a higher wage rate than the prevailing wage.

When U.S. corporations aren't "insourcing", they're "outsourcing"

Four years ago in the midst of the Great Recession, representatives of many of the nation’s most powerful corporations attended the 2009 Strategic Outsourcing Conference to talk about how to send more American jobs overseas. Conference organizers polled the more than 70 senior executives who attended the conference about the behavior of their companies in response to the recession. The majority said their companies increased outsourcing.

And another question that was asked of the executives found that the top reason for companies to outsource American jobs was to “reduce operating costs” (and not because Americans lacked job skills).

The H-1B guest worker fraud has been going on for years, and Congress (and Obama, as well as our previous presidents) is well aware of this, but yet they all refuse to act in the best interests of the working American people, but instead cave in to corporate interests.

Now U.S. labor unions have to "compromise" with big business to screw American workers so that Congress can claim progress in immigration "reform".

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